Brighton Fringe event preview: Protect and Survive

Protect and Survive. Photo by Peter Williams
Protect and Survive. Photo by Peter Williams

On Thursday January 26 2017, the group of scientists who orchestrate the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic instrument informing the public when the earth is facing imminent disaster, moved its minute hand from three to two and a half minutes before the final hour.

It is the closest the clock has been to midnight since 1953, the year after the United States and the Soviet Union conducted competing tests of the hydrogen bomb.

Protect and Survive is a world premiere play inspired by the BBC Film Threads, the story of a pre-and post-nuclear strike on Sheffield, transmitted in 1984 at the height of the Cold War.

In a letter after its transmission, Neil Kinnock, Leader of the Opposition, wrote, “The story must be told time and time again until the idea of using nuclear weapons is pushed into past history”.

The story of Protect and Survive is set in both 2017 and 1984.

Five actors arrive at a studio to record the audio drama/documentary Exercise HOT SEAT, based upon authentic Civil Defence course material.

Local council officers are put through simulated scenarios of a nuclear strike and its aftermath, training them to deal with civil defence problems as part of the government’s strategy following a nuclear attack.

As the play progresses, we see the emotional impact on the actors as they act out the fictional story and come to understand the factual horrors of a nuclear Armageddon.

In the play/game they are faced with the horrific realities of nuclear weapons on the personal, human level. 

However, in the real world, the horror of a nuclear attack takes a step closer.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock, a symbol of global threat, 30 seconds closer to midnight.

Stating that the reckless and cavalier language used during and after the US Elections, Russian military annexation and North Korean missile tests all pose the most extraordinary and dangerous threats to the continued existence of humanity. 

Fiction has become a personal reality.

Protect and Survive is currently running at Sweet, St Andrews (Venue 263), and performances take place at every evening at 5.30pm until Monday (May 17)

Tickets priced at £10 or £8 for concessions.

See the Brighton Fringe website to buy tickets